Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gardening Paradise

It is my ambition to keep this blog going past 100 posts. In winter this becomes difficult and so, I wander afield in subject matter. See green field above. Covered with living vegetable matter, hence...well, almost on topic?

 Post 85

While we here in the Wissahickon Valley are being Articaly vortexed, there is a spot closer to the Equator that is enjoying 80ish degree days, sun broken only occasionally by quick moments of rain, trade winds, beautiful plantings and heaps of a sophisticated, hybrid culture older and more complex than ours.

I wish I were there now! It's San Juan, Puerto Rico and it's islands, where I was less than a week ago.

There was oh, so much to do. Of course there are beaches, wonderful miles of beaches.

But so much more than just beaches.  There are forts with foundations laid in the days of Shakespeare and which last saw active duty in WWII against U boats--that's 400 years of service. You can see the WWII gun bunkers in the third picture down from here, just under the flagpoles.

From this fort, the largest, you look back at the harbor and old San Juan.

Now old San Juan can be busy, such as when there is a festival,

Or quiet and European-feeling on a slow afternoon.

When people say old world charm, they are not kidding. This is a living museum of gracefully intoxicating Hispanic architecture, ranging in time from the 16th-century to 1930.

For shoppers there are lots of shops. What I liked was the wealth of cultural institutions. One can go to museums, the symphony, the theatre, art galleries or just walk around and take it all in.

Plus, if you want to learn more about gardening paradise, you can go to the University of Puerto Rico's Botanical Gardens. You can walk around on your own or get an English-speaking tour guide.
I did the latter and had a lovely visit.

And yes, there is still more. There is eating and drinking.  I loved everywhere we ate but am partial to two places for drinks. One is very old school Caribbean  (I'm can see Grahme Greene having drunk here,) the other is a bar that looks like it was created by daydreaming hipsters of what an old dive bar would/should/could look like. They hit it on the nose.

First, the elegant El Convento situated in, yes, an old convent.

And then, right across the street from it, this. Great jukebox.

Oh, and there is a rain forest that makes the air happy, or something like that.

If too many pics, apologies, playing with the images makes me feel like I'm back there.
I love hot places that do not get too hot because of the breezes, cool mountains that overlook warm beaches, multi-colored waters leading out to more waters and islands, good food, good architecture, good vibes.

But yes, there is also some bad news. It seems PR has overbought bonds and it's credit rating is shaky. I hope it makes it thru this crisis and can sustainably prosper in the future. I think it would be great for the United States if it became a state.

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